With the words to Lee Greenwood’s song, God Bless the USA, appropriately ringing through the PA system, Staff Sergeant Matt Brugeman, U.S. Army Retired, and his wife Sydney, joined the small group of Colorado PGA REACH Trustees gathered to honor his service and to present them with the key to their new home.
It has become custom for the Colorado PGA REACH Foundation to award the keys of a mortgage-free home to a deserving wounded warrior during its largest fund-raiser of the year, the REACH Invitational. Although things are being done differently this year, the plans came together, and the Foundation was able to present its seventh home. In additional to the home, the Foundation cleared more than $45,000 to support its many programs.
This year was extra special for our honorees as it was also their wedding anniversary. Not having taken the time for a honeymoon, they will always remember their sixth anniversary as both a honeymoon and the dedication of their new home.
“It is always so rewarding for us to get to meet the recipients of the home,” admits Stuart Bruening, co-partner of Southwest Greens. “Matt and Sydney are great examples of the dedication of those who serve our country and we are proud to be able to support them in return.”
“This was an epic adventure,” comments Brugeman. “We are simple people who live a simple life-style, so to be welcomed in such a grand way by such genuine people has been amazing and unimaginable to us, as well as a little over-whelming at the same time.”
Due to protocols around the coronavirus, the Brugeman’s were given access to their Montpelier, Virginia, home on April 9 by providing them the code to the lockbox. This gave them the opportunity to enter their new home as a family unit to experience together the beginning of this new chapter in their lives.
“There wasn’t much sleep going on in our house the night before we went to our new home,” admits Brugeman. “We were so excited. There were a lot of smiles, cheers and even a fair number of tears shed when we got our first glimpse of what would now be home.”
Not having a clear vision of what the future would hold for him and always having a desire to serve his country like many family members before him had done, in 2005, Brugeman joined the U.S. Army.
“I was watching the news one night and saw the reports coming in from Iraq and Afghanistan and something told me that was where I needed to be. The very next day I went to the recruiter’s office,” remembers Brugeman.
Brugeman spent more than half of his 10-year career with the Army stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. As an infantryman, he was twice deployed to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. He was injured during his second deployment to Iraq, but it was his time in Afghanistan that proved to be the roughest. As a squad leader, he felt the pain when the squad experienced a high-injury rate – nearly two-thirds of the company was hurt. Faced with the decision to re-enlist for an additional 10 years or retire from the Army, in 2015 Brugeman decided to move into the civilian world and devote himself to his wife and new daughter.
The Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, Army Commendation with V Device and the Combat Infantry Badge were just a few of the many awards earned by Brugeman during his time of serving our country.
This family has grand plans. Sydney is finishing up her undergraduate work in mathematics and then hopes to move into a master’s program to prepare herself to teach at the college level. Matt enjoys his work with a large landscape supply company and the problem solving and hustle it takes to get the job done. He has a dream of sharing his love of woodworking with other veterans. For him, there is a healing power in working with wood, and he would like to share this with others who could also benefit. Then there is their 5-year old daughter. This active, inquisitive and smart little girl is soaking up all that life has to offer. In fact, it was shared that she is the one teaching her parents about the planets and the number of moons of each planet.
“It was an honor to serve our country,” says Brugeman. “And it is extremely humbling to be presented with this mortgage-free home. This will have a long-term positive financial impact on all of us … Syd, me and our daughter. Thank you doesn’t seem to be enough. We hope you all know of the impact you have made in our lives and we will be forever grateful.
“Please know that our door is always open, and you are always welcome,” concludes Brugeman.
“It was a privilege to get to meet and spend a little time with two such admirable people like Matt and Sydney,” says Eddie Ainsworth, PGA, Colorado PGA Executive Director and CEO. “He served his country honorably by risking his life for our freedom. Being able to give back to him was a real privilege and blessing.”
The continued success of this program is attributed to the many organizations that work together toward the common goal of facilitating a smooth and successful transition of our nation’s combat wounded heroes. The Military Warriors Support Foundation evaluates and selects deserving combat-wounded heroes to receive mortgage-free homes. Wells Fargo contributes and remodels homes that it then donates to the program and the Colorado PGA REACH Foundation, through its Supporting Our Military Pillar, provides the avenue to donate the home. Southwest Greens, through the profits of its Mile-High Golf Trail Program featuring The Golf Club at Bear Dance, Colorado National Golf Club, Plum Creek Golf Course and Riverdale Golf Course, provides the funding for the home give-away. These funds will provide family and financial mentoring to assure the hero is given the necessary tools to be successful with this newly attained investment.